Has there been an Incident/ emergency/ Disciplinary or anything else to report: go to, INCIDENT
As a street friend, you can have a direct, positive impact on the life of someone who is socially isolated. Yet, as with any volunteering role, there are a few things to consider when working with our attendees. As we are regarded as street friends, we do not have the usual 30 minutes of time approximated by many other ‘befriending’ groups:
As a Street Friend you’ll usually be able to chat for around 15mins or so. Our goal is to establish a connection to those who otherwise may be ‘unseen and unheard’.
One of the key things to consider before becoming a befriender is the level of commitment required. The idea is to build up a short term relationship, with an attendee. Our main goal is to initially bring them a little cheer as a street friend. Whilst giving them the dignity of fresh meals and desserts, food parcels, toiletries, clothing, pet food, sleeping bags, hot drinks and hot instant foods.
Then our goal with the befriending is to politely ask powerful questions, such as what, how where, when – but avoid the ‘why’. Asking someone why, implies in a way they are to blame. With these questions you then use our list of ‘safe contacts’.
The ‘safe contacts’, through conversations and relationships built up, enable us to offer safe suggestions. Note – we cannot take responsibility for a person’s situation or their life. We also cannot try to ‘fix’ them. In short by fixing a person and their problems/issues, you not only take away their choice, you force them into something they may not be ready for, but you also remove any success or achievement they would get from their personal development and successes.
We are not required by law to have PVG checks completed, but this is an option, we can look into. As part of your development pathway.
Ensure you are comfortable chatting, socially distanced with the attendee, ask for support if needed
If an attendee is injured/unwell, at risk of harming themselves or someone else, options are to utilise a 24 hour service such as Samaritans – or if required contact emergency services.
Take notes. For confidentiality, until they are happy for you to do so we advise the basics. For example Forename and area, Initials and first part of postcode etc.
Ensure you put your name, the time and date of the conversations, then should you not be available the details are all there for another street friend to continue the good work
Treat everyone with dignity – to refer to a service with their permission, we need a number/email and first name at least.
Confidentiality – never discuss talks with ANYONE
STIGMATIC language must NEVER be used and always non-judgemental
We are not counsellors, nor a ‘service’ and despite any previous experience, as street friends we do not operate as a service would. That is why we are partnered with many expert charities, ‘safe choices’, who are trained professionals and can give help when they wish to take it.
See our: SAFE CHOICES for more information